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From: TSS ()
Subject: FSA Monthly Report of specified risk material and other BSE Control breaches for July 2006
Date: August 16, 2006 at 7:21 am PST

Monthly Report of specified risk material and other BSE Control breaches for July 2006
Tuesday 15 August 2006
The following report from the Food Standards Agency provides a monthly update on specified risk material (SRM) finds and related issues. These SRM reports are posted on the Agency's website normally during the second week of each month.

Imported SRM breach
On 11 July 2006, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), which enforces the Regulations in Northern Ireland on behalf of the FSA, reported the discovery of spinal cord, which is SRM, in a forequarter of fresh beef imported from the Republic of Ireland.
The breach was discovered at Vanstar Meats, an approved cutting plant in Northern Ireland and was part of a consignment of 204 beef quarters. The spinal cord should have been removed at the slaughterhouse in the Republic of Ireland, B & F Meats, Co. Kilkenny, prior to despatch.

The receiving company Vanstar Meats was not responsible for the breach.

The remainder of the consignment was checked and found to be clear of SRM. The affected forequarter was condemned. No SRM entered the food chain.

Domestic SRM breach
The FSA received a report on 17 July that SRM vertebral column from cattle aged 24 to 30 months had been discovered at Alba Proteins Ltd in Halifax. The material had been received from Northern Counties Meat Group Ltd, approved cutting plant.

Investigations revealed that Northern Counties had not been segregating and staining the material and disposing of it as Category 1 animal by-product as required by law since May 2006. Instead, they had been dispatching this material as low risk Category 3 animal by-product. Alba Proteins was not responsible for the breach.

There is no evidence that any of this material entered the human food chain but in the event that it had, the public health risk would have been negligible.

The FSA has written to all cutting plants and local authorities reminding them of the requirements for handling and disposing of 24 to 30 month bovine vertebral column SRM. A survey, conducted by the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS), is underway in all cutting plants to check on compliance with the legislation.

Background on SRM issues

SRM is that part of the animal most likely to contain BSE infectivity.

SRM controls remove over 99% of BSE infectivity that may be present in cattle.

As from May 2006 vertebral column in cattle aged over 24 months is now classified as SRM.

Under European Union (EU) law, SRM must be removed as soon as possible after slaughter, stained and disposed of safely
Breach of OTM BSE testing controls under investigation
A breach of the BSE controls at a meat plant in Northern Ireland, ABP Newry, has been reported to the Food Standards Agency by the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). The breach relates to the authenticity of brain samples for two over thirty month (OTM) cattle being BSE tested on 26 July.

The OTM rule, which banned cattle over 30 months of age from sale for food in the UK, was replaced last year with a BSE testing regime for older cattle. All OTM cattle must receive a negative BSE test before entering the food chain.

The breach was identified at a lab, which carries out BSE testing on behalf of DARD, where the two samples submitted raised suspicions. The lab informed DARD veterinary officials and the two OTM animals were detained. No parts of the animals concerned entered the food chain. Subsequent DNA testing showed that the two suspect brain samples did not match the two carcasses detained at the plant.

DARD immediately suspended the plantís approval to process OTM cattle. A full investigation into the incident by DARD officials is currently under way.

Finds of specified risk material in imported beef and sheepmeat 2006

UK breaches of SRM controls

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